Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Disturbing piece sent this morning from Ken. Bush is toast. The former mayor of New Orleans was quite angry this morning in his interview with CNN. According to him - if we can pour millions of dollars to help the people in Iraq, we can pour millions of dollars to save our very own citizens in New Orleans. The tragedy unfolds daily with more devastating incidences of loss of life and property. It is heartbreaking. LS

The catastrophe in New Orleans will cost everyone - bigtime. And yet much of the disaster could have been avoided - a plan was being implemented to fix and improve the levee system and many fixes would have been in place. Unfortunately, Bush's war to prove he's tougher than his father sucked hundreds of millions of dollars out of the project, bringing it to a halt.

I would wish this were only a problem for the fools who voted for him, but we'll all be smeared with this one. Story below the picture. -K


When the levee breaks

It appears that the money has been moved in the presidentís budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose thatís the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees canít be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.

-- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.

This picture is an aerial view of New Orleans today, more than 14 months later. Even though Hurricane Katrina has moved well north of the city and the sun is out, the waters continue to rise in New Orleans as we write this. That's because Lake Pontchartrain continues to pour through a two-block-long break in the main levee, near the city's 17th Street Canal. With much of the Crescent City some 10 feet below sea level, the rising tide may not stop until until it's level with the massive lake.

There have been numerous reports of bodies floating in the poorest neighborhoods of this poverty-plagued city, but the truth is that the death toll may not be known for days, because the conditions continue to frustrate rescue efforts.

New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.

Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars. (Much of the research here is from Nexis, which is why some articles aren't linked.)

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to this Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness:

The $750 million Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection project is another major Corps project, which remains about 20% incomplete due to lack of funds, said Al Naomi, project manager. That project consists of building up levees and protection for pumping stations on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes.

The Lake Pontchartrain project is slated to receive $3.9 million in the president's 2005 budget. Naomi said about $20 million is needed.

"The longer we wait without funding, the more we sink," he said. "I've got at least six levee construction contracts that need to be done to raise the levee protection back to where it should be (because of settling). Right now I owe my contractors about $5 million. And we're going to have to pay them interest."

That June, with the 2004 hurricane seasion starting, the Corps' Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:

"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we donít get the money fast enough to raise them, then we canít stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isnít that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we canít raise them."

The panel authorized that money, and on July 1, 2004, it had to pony up another $250,000 when it learned that stretches of the levee in Metairie had sunk by four feet. The agency had to pay for the work with higher property taxes. The levee board noted in October 2004 that the feds were also now not paying for a hoped-for $15 million project to better shore up the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.

The 2004 hurricane season, as you probably recall, was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane- and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history. Because of the proposed cuts, the Corps office there imposed a hiring freeze. Officials said that money targeted for the SELA project -- $10.4 million, down from $36.5 million -- was not enough to start any new jobs. According to New Orleans CityBusiness this June 5:

The district has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects are included in a Corps line item called Lake Pontchartrain, where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006. Naomi said it's enough to pay salaries but little else.

"We'll do some design work. We'll design the contracts and get them ready to go if we get the money. But we don't have the money to put the work in the field, and that's the problem," Naomi said.

There was, at the same time, a growing recognition that more research was needed to see what New Orleans must do to protect itself from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. But once again, the money was not there. As the Times-Picayune reported last Sept. 22:

That second study would take about four years to complete and would cost about $4 million, said Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi. About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount.

But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money, he said.

The Senate was seeking to restore some of the SELA funding cuts for 2006. But now it's too late. One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer was a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach. The levee failure appears to be causing a human tragedy of epic proportions:

"We probably have 80 percent of our city under water; with some sections of our city the water is as deep as 20 feet. Both airports are underwater," Mayor Ray Nagin told a radio interviewer.

Washington knew that this day could come at any time, and it knew the things that needed to be done to protect the citizens of New Orleans. But in the tradition of the riverboat gambler, the Bush administration decided to roll the dice on its fool's errand in Iraq, and on a tax cut that mainly benefitted the rich.

And now Bush has lost that gamble, big time. We hope that Congress will investigate what went wrong here.

The president told us that we needed to fight in Iraq to save lives here at home, and yet -- after moving billions of domestic dollars to the Persian Gulf -- there are bodies floating through the streets of Louisana. What does George W. Bush have to say for himself now?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I decided to take a different tack tonight. Instead of just posting news not found easily in the MSM, I am looking at various GOP voting records, specifically in areas in which the GOP vote lock step on issues that are not in the best interest of our nation on various levels. In looking at random voting records, I have found that the GOP vote together, like a mindless bunch of sheep, on just about everything, because someone upstairs tells them to. Or, they are too cowardly to fight the bullies.

You are either for us or against us, right?

The President, when declaring war on Afghanistan, the home and safe haven for Osama Bin Laden, announced to the world in direct and very black and white terms, “you are either for us or against us.” He told the world that we would hunt down terrorists who threaten our national security with every resource available to us. No efforts or means would be spared to ensure the safety and well-being of American citizens.

All of our federal, state and city elected officials rallied around the cause. The people from every walk of life in the U.S. united and put differences aside for a higher and more noble cause. There were no longer Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Liberals, Conservatives, Progressives, or Red or Blue States. We were all the same – we were Americans – moms, dads, grandparents, children, friends, relatives, colleagues and co-workers – all of us sharing similar values and goals driven by a collective quest to remain free of terror attacks that threatened the fabric of our lives at home.

What happened since then? How did we become so divided? Surely no one is comfortable or happy with the divisive political environment in which we now live, when one has to be cautious in discussing political topics with family, friends or colleagues for fear of driving a rift between loving, meaningful, and/or cordial relationships.

What unfortunately materialized is, that in our hour of greatest need and threat, the president and his administration were not entirely honest with America. Somehow the administration became obsessed with Iraq. For some mysterious reason, the focus shifted from Afghanistan to Iraq.

It is common knowledge now that Iraq was not a threat to our national security in either the short or long term.

Yet, over 1800 of our children, spouses, relatives and friends have lost their lives there.

Why Iraq?

It is the job of our elected officials to hold the President accountable and in check. Why did no one in the GOP, the party who hold the majority in both Houses, step up to the plate? They had the power and influence to do so, yet they stood silent.

Did they lack the courage or were they merely slipping back into old habit of partisan politics? Bitter partisan politics are not good for America.

The people of this country need to ask their elected officials are you for us or against us?

It seems that most are not completely for us.

It is highly disturbing to find that a majority of Republicans voted against legislation that is supposed to protect us against future acts of terrorism.

For example, ALL REPUBLICANS EXCEPT FOR THREE VOTED NO on an amendment to the Dept. of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2005 proposed by Senator Byrd which reads - “To provide funds for the Transportation Security Administration, United States, Coast Guard, and the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. (S.AMDT 3649, Amends H.R. 4567 submitted 9/14/04, proposed 9/14/04.)

No? Deny funds to help ensure our safety?


Three Republicans, Senators Allen of Virginia, Snowe of Maine and Specter of Pennsylvania voted Yes.

Fortunately a few Republicans have transcended partisan politics and are truly concerned for the well-being of our country.

Is it about safety or politics?

We need representatives who will step up, take responsibility, and vote on issues that are in the best common interest of we the people.

Elected officials work for the people who put them in office. They do not work for an administration, lobbyists or donors.

It is obvious that we need change very badly.

Get rid of the GOP and Bush, Inc. sooner than later. They aren't for you and they aren't for me. LS

Now, onto news not easily found in the you know where.


Not because of the horror of Iraq, mind you. Pat Buchanan wants Bush impeached because of his failure to do anything to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, south of the border, into our country. Er, Mr. Buchanan, you don't get it. The economy in the great state of Texas (among other border states) is based upon exploiting the poor and miserable who seek a better life for themselves and their families...It is true that the flow of immigration is taxing the health care and education systems of our state, but the big fat cats don't care as long as they get richer... We have become a state of Les Miserables, indeed. Welcome to the reality of your own idealogy, Mr. B. LS

Found, where else, but on Raw



A Republican Congressman joins Democrats in backing Downing Street Memo Bill.

OK, between the Homeland Security Amendment mentioned above, and this article, we have a total of 4 Republicans who do not always vote the way their corrupted and/or bullied party tells them to. LS

From the Des Moines Register On line.


Keep on having fun on your ranch in Crawford, Mr. President, while you wreak havoc on the lives of Americans.

Look at what you have done.

Paralyzed young soldier and his wife join Cindy Sheehan in Crawford. This heartbreaking. From Brad's Blog.


Saturday, August 27, 2005


The pie in the sky, hair brained, out of touch with our (that is, Average Joe and Jane US of A) reality, the arrogant, the contemptuous and quite frankly, the despicable neoncons have made a horrific mess of things, haven't they now? Who on earth can and will get us out of this mess? Bush and Cheney are beginning to look like the leading clowns in a fly by night carnival act. I wish this was a mere nightmare from which we could wake up and all would be OK.

It took a heart broken and grieving mother to inject a seriously needed shot of reality into the psyche of a nation dominated by neocon smoke and mirrors, one enabled by the willingness of our very own complacency to buy into their world of tall tales, for whatever reason (FEAR?), and a new world order supported and reinforced by the enthusiastic cheerleading of - who the hell else - but the intellectually and ethically challenged (more about show time than substance) – main stream media.

However, we cannot entirely blame the Bush/Cheney Clowns Co., nor the media, either, for our undoing. We must fully understand and appreciate that we share the great burden of guilt for our own complacency and willingness to be manipulated, bought and sold. We let it happen folks, like it or not. We let it happen. LS

Great article found on the Boston Globe editorial section today.



ALMOST 20 years ago I was driving south from Baghdad when I saw a yellow-and-white taxi coming up the Basra road with a flag-draped coffin on the roof. Then I saw another, and another. At the time Iraq was engaged in a long and bitter war with Iran, and I learned that what I was seeing was the war dead coming home.

In those days taxis would be summoned to military morgues and given a coffin along with an address and some money to deliver it. When a coffin-laden taxi would turn into a residential street, people would hold a collective breath wondering at which house the taxi would stop. Often families would be given no other notice. They would be asked to sign a receipt, and the taxi would drive away.

It was the custom in Iraq to fly a black flag outside the house of a fallen soldier, but by the time I got there the government had discouraged the practice because Saddam Hussein wanted to underplay the casualties so as not to harm morale for his war.

In America the flagged-draped coffins of our honored dead are escorted home in military planes. Relatives are routinely notified promptly in person by Pentagon representatives, and the coffins themselves are treated with impeccable and ceremonial respect.

Yet I was interested to read that only recently, under pressure from a Freedom of Information Act suit, would the Pentagon finally agree to make fully available photographs of arriving American coffins from Iraq.

President Bush had said that the ban was to protect the privacy of the families, but I suspect that the administration felt that photographs of coffins coming home might sap support for the president's war.

So far the Bush administration has been remarkably successful in downplaying the cost of its Iraqi adventure. Earlier on, the then deputy secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz, was unable to tell Congress what the number of American dead was. The war played well when it came time to get reelected, and dissent could be branded as unpatriotic.

The administration had predicted an easy victory. Just lop off the head of Saddam's regime and, bingo, a pro-American, pro-Israeli democracy would emerge, ready to welcome US military bases, guarantee our oil, and be a light unto other nations, bringing liberty and democracy to the region, they said. Yet none of this has come to pass. The draft constitution highlights the bitter differences in Iraq, not unity, which, in the long run, no document can paper over.

For a time it seemed not to matter to the American public that the stated reasons for going to war, the weapons of mass destruction and the links with Al Qaeda, turned out not to be true. After all, there was no draft, the casualties were not reaching Vietnam levels, and the families of soldiers could not bear to think that their sons and daughters were fighting and dying in a dubious cause, or so the administration calculated.

There were critics, of course, but the general public seemed to accept all the misleading and disingenuous statements such as ''mission accomplished" or that the Iraqi insurrection is in its ''last throes" or that old holdover from the Vietnam War: We are fighting them there so we won't have to fight them here at home. Now Bush's reason for more dead is to honor those who have already died.

But the tide is turning. Most Americans disapprove of how Bush is handling the war, and most now no longer trust his honesty, according to polls, which used to be his trump card. ''Today," according to pollster John Zogby, ''the linkage between Iraq and the war on terrorism that has worked for Bush in the past is taking its toll. Barely a majority give the president positive marks for handling the war on terrorism -- down from 66 percent when he was reelected in 2004."

Saddam's war against Iran lasted almost a dozen years. But then he didn't have to put up with mothers of dead soldiers effectively questioning a failing enterprise.

And so the president interrupts his vacation to make speeches in support of his war -- speeches in which he now makes references to the number of American dead, which The New York Times called ''rare." Thanks in part to Cindy Sheehan, it is getting harder to sweep the cost of this war under the national rug. In this, her mission has been partially accomplished.

H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe.

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


A reporter who broke the Downing Street Memo breaks down the Downing Street documents. Long but incredible piece. It must be read to fully appreciate what Bush and Co. have done to us. And we let them get away with it. Yes, we do. We are not working hard enough. LS



OK - I know this piece comes from "Marxist Thought Online" but we wouldn't actually find this info on Fox News would we now? LS



As much as I hate to admit it, I agree with the comments made by Gary Hart. I have been a Democrat my entire life. LS


The real defeatists today are not those protesting the war. The real defeatists are those in power and their silent supporters in the opposition party who are reduced to repeating "Stay the course" even when the course, whatever it now is, is light years away from the one originally undertaken. The truth is we're way off course. We've stumbled into a hornet's nest. We've weakened ourselves at home and in the world. We are less secure today than before this war began.

Who now has the courage to say this?

The writer is a former Democratic senator from Colorado.

On the Washington via Buzz Flash



What have they to lose? Bush's approval ratings are in the sewer. His are WORSE THAN NIXON'S DURING WATERGATE.

Thanks for the piece, Ken. LS

Bush: Less Popular Than Nixon During Watergate

Via Atrios, an American Research Group poll released today
shows that George Bush has dropped to staggering new lows:


George W. Bush's overall job approval ratings have dropped from a month ago even as Americans who approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president are turning more optimistic about their personal financial situations according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 62% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 38% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 56% disapprove, and 36% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove.

For a little perspective, recall that Richard Nixon's approval rating in the summer of 1973 (when the Watergate scandal was in full swing) was 39%.


You won't be shocked to learn it was Tricky Dick himself. I suppose one dirty trickster would admire and respect the antics of another.

Wonderful piece found on The author reveals Rove's tactics throughout his years in politics. The author, by the way is Thomas Pauken of the Houston Chronicle. Gosh! Maybe I will start reading the local paper again. LS


Karl Rove is a master of using the press to do his dirty work for him; he would leak sensitive information to favored reporters on a "not for attribution" basis. When the damaging information appeared in print, Rove would pile on a story that was essentially his creation in the first place. It was a formula that worked for him time and time again.

This time, however, was different. Valerie Plame had been under "deep cover," and the CIA demanded that the Justice Department investigate the leak.

To his credit, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the case, and his deputy selected U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald from Chicago to be the special prosecutor. Fitzgerald had previously taken on Islamic terrorists, Mafia chieftains and corrupt politicians with notable success.

How could Rove possibly have guessed that the case would take on such importance that the judge would require key reporters to reveal their sources, thus outing Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Rove?

What Rove also did not realize was that he had put himself in the middle of a foreign-policy fight between neoconservative advocates of the war in Iraq and critics such as Wilson who were accusing the administration of "cooking the books" and "manipulating intelligence."

Rove is such a political lightning rod that most of the focus has been on him. Very little attention has been given to the other name mentioned as a source for stories by syndicated columnist Robert Novak and Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper. "Scooter" Libby is Dick Cheney's chief of staff and national-security adviser. While Karl Rove may call the shots when it comes to President Bush's domestic agenda, Cheney is king when it comes to foreign policy. Paul Wolfowitz may have been the architect of the war in Iraq, but Dick Cheney made the call to go forward and persuaded the president to give his approval.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Well, Mr. President, you have revealed your true colors. Instead of offering a few words of comfort to a grieving mother, you did what you and your party do so well. You used a sledgehammer instead of a simple gentle gesture of kindness. What would Jesus have done, Mr. President? Afterall, you do call yourself a Christian, don't you? LS



Great piece sent by Sarah today. I suppose the crooks and liars need to stick together when times are tough.

We're on to you, guys. We are on to you. Ready to do some heavy hitting protesting, friends? LS

Tom Delay is a crook, even the majority of my Republican friends, etc... say so - this should make your skin crawl - Dick Cheney is planning to make appearances, etc... in support of Tom Delay - if THAT doesn't raise a few eyebrows, not sure what will. SG

Below is a story in the Houston Chronicle

It's hush-hush, but Cheney's coming to stump for DeLay


and I am throwing up. LS

Hotel is booked and the invitations are going out for a major fundraising gala in September

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to appear at a campaign event for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay at a Houston hotel in mid-September.
A spokeswoman for Cheney said that security concerns precluded his office from releasing the vice president's schedule more than a few days in advance.

"We are not making any announcements about events in mid-September," the spokeswoman said.

DeLay's office also would not comment.

However, the time and date of the event, 5-7 p.m. on Sept. 16, and location, the Westin Galleria Hotel, were posted on a Clear Lake GOP online bulletin board ( and some invitations already have been sent out.

One Houston-area executive said she received an invitation and put the details in her calendar.

"It is just a fundraiser to show that Mr. DeLay has got the support of the administration," she said.

The White House has offered cordial words for DeLay over the past several months despite questions about whether lobbyists paid for some of DeLay's overseas travel, a violation of House rules.

In late April during a Social Security forum in Galveston, Bush said: "I appreciate the leadership of Congressman Tom DeLay in working on important issues that matter to the country."

DeLay rode back to Washington with Bush on Air Force One.

At a National Republican Committee gala in May, Bush said, "Tom DeLay is a fine majority leader" as he ran through a list of encomiums for GOP officials.

Those comments came during a period when many questions were being raised about DeLay's political activities, including his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was recently indicted in Miami for wire fraud and is under investigation in Washington for allegedly bilking millions from Indian tribes that hired him as a lobbyist.

As for his overseas travel, DeLay has said he is ready and willing to bring a decade's worth of records to the House Ethics Committee, which would pursue any congressional investigation into who paid for the trips.

The panel, which was held up for months by partisan wrangling, is now slowly taking the steps, such as hiring lawyers, that it must complete before it could begin an investigation.

The Houston fundraiser would constitute the second major event for DeLay this year.

In mid-May, nearly 1,000 people attended an event organized by the American Conservative Union to defend DeLay against criticism.

More than a dozen conservative leaders and politicians offered words of support for the majority leader.

DeLay said the tribute stiffened his resolve to fight what he considers baseless Democrat attacks on his character.

He has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.


Let's face it, now, despite what the GOP spin machine spews daily, 24/7, about the fictitious light at the end of the tunnel in Iraq, bottom line is, many of Americans are losing faith in the war. Perhaps the realization that we have been tricked into an unspeakable and unnecessary conflict is finally creeping into our collective conscience. It is well about time, America. Wake up! Stop being uninformed and complacent. Such ignorance leads only to our nation’s detriment. Refuse to listen to the GOP spin machine and think clearly and quietly for yourselves. We are, after all, supposed to be a nation of free and independent thinkers, aren’t we?

This is a very interesting and insightful piece in the L.A. Times. LS


Monday, August 22, 2005


Bush's approval ratings continue to plummet, as they well should, thank you very much, and it seems that the only Americans who believe that Bush is doing a great job are those who are benefiting financially from his policies. I bet you know who they are. Hint: they aren't average Joe and Jane US of A. Au contraire, many American are facing very difficult financial challenges.

Comprehensive piece below, from the American Research Group, discusses Bush's ratings in depth. It is well worth the read. LS


This is the second month in a row when improving economic ratings have not been matched by higher job approval ratings for Bush. A total of 24% of Americans now say their personal financial situations are getting better, up from 17% in July, and 27% say they believe that their personal financial situations will be better off a year from now, which is up from 21% in July.

The increases in the personal financial ratings, however, are coming mainly from those approving of the way Bush is handling his job. A total of 54% of those approving the way Bush is handling his job say their personal financial situations are getting better, compared to 5% of those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, and 61% of those saying they approve of the way Bush is handling his job say they expect to be better off a year from now, compared to 6% of those saying they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job.


Friday, August 19, 2005


According to Mr. Krugman, in his comments about the recently published book "Steal This Vote," if the GOP loses the House or Senate in 2006 and the Presidency in 2008, it will be devastating for the party because the lid will blow off all of the scandals, from the lies about Iraq to profiteering by politically connected companies. Rigging the elections will be more of an imperative for the GOP than ever before.

Lovely. Just lovely. What drives me to be a political activist is the hope that we can kick their power obsessed, greed mongering, lying and low life corrupted GOP derrieres out of Washington in 2006, 2008 and straight into prison where they should be now, not next year or in two and a half years. LS

From the NYT, August 19, 2005



August 19, 2005

What They Did Last Fall

By running for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, Florida's former secretary of state, has stirred up some ugly memories. And that's a good thing, because those memories remain relevant. There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn't change the outcome. And the next election may be worse.

In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."

Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.

But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever.

Meanwhile, the whitewash of what happened in Florida in 2000 showed that election-tampering carries no penalty, and political operatives have acted accordingly. For example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired a company to jam Democratic and union phone banks on Election Day.

And what about 2004?

Mr. Gumbel throws cold water on those who take the discrepancy between the exit polls and the final result as evidence of a stolen election. (I told you it's a judicious book.) He also seems, on first reading, to play down what happened in Ohio. But the theme of his book is that America has a long, bipartisan history of dirty elections.

He told me that he wasn't brushing off the serious problems in Ohio, but that "this is what American democracy typically looks like, especially in a presidential election in a battleground state that is controlled substantially by one party."

So what does U.S. democracy look like? There have been two Democratic reports on Ohio in 2004, one commissioned by Representative John Conyers Jr., the other by the Democratic National Committee.

The D.N.C. report is very cautious: "The purpose of this investigation," it declares, "was not to challenge or question the results of the election in any way." It says there is no evidence that votes were transferred away from John Kerry - but it does suggest that many potential Kerry votes were suppressed. Although the Conyers report is less cautious, it stops far short of claiming that the wrong candidate got Ohio's electoral votes.

But both reports show that votes were suppressed by long lines at polling places - lines caused by inadequate numbers of voting machines - and that these lines occurred disproportionately in areas likely to vote Democratic. Both reports also point to problems involving voters who were improperly forced to cast provisional votes, many of which were discarded.

The Conyers report goes further, highlighting the blatant partisanship of election officials. In particular, the behavior of Ohio's secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell - who supervised the election while serving as co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio - makes Ms. Harris's actions in 2000 seem mild by comparison.

And then there are the election night stories. Warren County locked down its administration building and barred public observers from the vote-counting, citing an F.B.I. warning of a terrorist threat. But the F.B.I. later denied issuing any such warning. Miami County reported that voter turnout was an improbable 98.55 percent of registered voters. And so on.

We aren't going to rerun the last three elections. But what about the future?

Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation.


Thomas L. Friedman is on vacation.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company Home Privacy Policy Search Corrections XML Help Contact Us Work for Us Back to Top


Arianna writes it as she sees it. Great piece on the sometimes appalling and/or pathetic media coverage of Cindy Sheehan. They've been cheerleading for Bush for so long they no longer know the difference between truth and GOP propaganda. Received from Ken this morning. LS

Some people say two plus two equals four. Some say two plus two equals seven. Some people observe that the truth lies somewhere between.

Now you know what I think about this imaginary notion called 'balance.'

Here's Arianna H's view of the way the MSM is treating Cindy Sheehan. -K

Arianna Huffington

Why Are the Media Having Such a Hard Time Covering Cindy Sheehan?

As Gary Hart points out there is indeed a rich history of protest in America. From our Founding Fathers to abolitionists to suffragettes to labor strikers to civil rights marchers, protesters have repeatedly challenged the status quo and changed our society for the better.

So why are the mainstream media having such a hard time covering Cindy Sheehan?

It's as if the simple, direct, and starkly emotional nature of her stance is too raw for them to handle in any of the standard ways. So they've taken to treating her with a strange mix of detachment, condescension, distortion, and aggression.

Paula Zahn referred to her as "this woman." Edmund Morris alluded to her in the New York Times as an "emotional predator." And Dana Milbank wanted to "determine, once and for all, whether Cindy Sheehan is Rosa Parks or Lyndon Larouche."

It's one thing for the O'Reillys and the Limbaughs to spew anti-Cindy venom. The problem arises when, under the pretense of offering both sides, MSM figures regurgitate the GOP attack machine's most contemptible hits ("she's a puppet," "she's anti-Israel," "her own family is against her") as if there are always two legitimate sides to every story. I wonder if the civil rights protests were happening today, who at the cable shows would feel compelled to give equal time to the John Birch Society?

And what to make of the attempt to paint the nascent anti-war movement as a " special interest group." Leaving aside the fact that Sheehan is clearly nobody's pawn and has been raising her voice in protest long before Fenton and MoveOn and Ben Cohen arrived on the scene to lend their support, the use of the term "special interest" is blatantly misleading. Thinking that the war is a lousy idea -- as a majority of Americans now do -- does not qualify one as a "special interest group."

So you can imagine what a pleasure it was watching Keith Olbermann this week, who, instead of offering a "balanced," "on the one hand, on the other hand" look at Sheehan, named Limbaugh "today's worst person in the world" for his despicable Sheehan attack, saying "I guess the painkillers wipe out your memory along with your ethics."

And it's about time we put an end to the absurd double standard wherein a private citizen, staging a courageous and selfless protest, has every word she's ever uttered dug up and scrutinized more closely than some residual DNA on CSI while public officials making life and death decisions are allowed to say the most ludicrous things without being held accountable.

So Cindy might have used the "f-word" when talking about the administration that sent her son to die in Iraq. Big fucking deal. Is it really worthy of a banner headline on Drudge or cackley chatter on right wing blogs?

Certainly not while Don Rumsfeld's ludicrous comparisons between Japanese kamikaze pilots and Iraqi insurgents go unchallenged.

It's truly amazing: the MSM want to hold Sheehan's feet to the fire on statements she's denied making about Israel while allowing Dick "last throes" Cheney, Condi "mushroom cloud" Rice, George "slam dunk" Tenet, Alberto "quaint" Gonzalez, and George "Mission Accomplished" Bush a free pass.

Now that Sheehan has had to interrupt her vigil due to her mother's stroke, the media should take the opportunity to look in the mirror and reassess their handling of her story. Because while Sheehan's Crawford protest has been interrupted, the public's outcry against the president's war in Iraq has only just begun.

Thursday, August 18, 2005



This is a must read. Strong evidence shows the GOP stole yet another election. This time the victim is San Diego. LS

"Enron by the Sea" shows strange electoral anomalies - a 4 percent shift - ODDS OF SUCH A DISCREPANCY OCCURRING BY CHANCE ALONE ARE LESS THAN 7/100 OF 1%, STATISTICIANS REVEAL.

Found on Raw on 8/18/05


Math is non-partisan

A team of statisticians from California State University- Northridge - have analyzed the data from CAPE, concluding that the probability of luck or chance as the cause of the observed four percent deviation is less than one in 1,300 - or .000678.

Activists suspect fraud. "I am troubled by the prospect that we are losing our democracy very quickly. We've been voting on machines that were never intended to be tools of democracy," said Brina-Rae Schuchman, media spokesperson for CAPE, noting that Diebold machines utilize "secret software."



Exclusive: Citizens Request Recount in San Diego Mayoral Race
08/18/2005 @ 11:04 am

"Enron by the Sea" shows strange electoral anomalies - a 4 percent shift - ODDS OF SUCH A DISCREPANCY OCCURRING BY CHANCE ALONE ARE LESS THAN 7/100 OF 1%, STATISTICIANS REVEAL.

San Diego Democratic mayoral candidate, Donna Frye, may have been robbed of her mayoral seat in the July 25 local election as citizens' audit parallel election vote shows shift of 4 percent, Raw Story has learned.

Frye, who served three years as a council woman in San Diego, California, previously ran as a write-in candidate in November 2004, but was deprived of San Diego's top seat due to the city's Registrar of Voters, Sally McPherson, blocking the count of 5,547 ballots on which voters had written Frye's name, yet failed to also fill in bubbles. The disputed ballots would have given Frye a victory by 3,439 votes.

Enron by the Sea

Republican Dick Murphy assumed the mayoral office as a result of the uncounted ballots, only to resign amid multiple scandals that have engulfed San Diego's City Council.

His successor, Acting Mayor Michael Zucchet, a Democrat, held office for less than a day before being indicted on charges of conspiracy, extortion and wire fraud related to accepting payments from a Las Vegas strip club operator in exchange for relaxing the City's "no touch" policy.

The mayoral musical chairs, coupled with the indictments of several city council members on charges of bribery, as well as a city deficit running close to $2 billion, has earned the city the infamous nickname of "Enron by the Sea."

Following Zucchet's indictment a special election was held on July 25 of this year to name a successor. The official count showed that Frye had captured over 45 percent of the vote - double the amount of any other candidate. San Diego law, however, requires a run-off election between the two top vote-getters if no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote. The run-off race is set for November of this year. The election, however, was scheduled to replace Murphy regardless of the outcome of Zucchet's trial.

Diebold's Un-Accu-Vote

Now, a nonpartisan citizens' group that conducted a parallel election has requested a recount of 11 precincts. This time, the issue isn't unmarked bubbles, but the accuracy of Diebold Accu-Vote optical scan voting machines and the Diebold GEMS central tabulator used to count votes.

The Citizens Audit Parallel Election (CAPE) asked voters exiting polls to vote again and sign a log book attesting to the accuracy of their second vote. Sealed parallel election ballots were counted at KGTV's studio with a TV camera crew filming the counting process.

Nearly 50 percent of all voters participated in the parallel election, which included five polling places representing 11 precincts. The sample included more conservative than liberal precincts, with participation as high among Republicans as among Democrats. The tandem election results showed what most feel to be startling results.

"There is a shift of four percent of the vote, consistently," Joe Prizzi, (engineer and physicist,) reported at a press conference held by CAPE in front of City Hall. Frye received 50.2 percent of the votes cast in the parallel election - enough for an outright victory if those results reflect the outcome citywide. CAPE also found that the official count added approximately 2 percent to each of Frye's two Republican opponents, Jerry Sanders and Steve Francis.

In addition, CAPE examined the only other ballot measure, a proposition over a war memorial cross on public land. The proposition's vote total also appeared to have been padded by 4 percent in the official election tally, which was certified Friday August 19 by San Diego County's newly appointed Registrar of Voters, Republican Mikel Haas.

Math is non-partisan

A team of statisticians from California State University- Northridge - have analyzed the data from CAPE, concluding that the probability of luck or chance as the cause of the observed four percent deviation is less than one in 1,300 - or .000678.

Activists suspect fraud. "I am troubled by the prospect that we are losing our democracy very quickly. We've been voting on machines that were never intended to be tools of democracy," said Brina-Rae Schuchman, media spokesperson for CAPE, noting that Diebold machines utilize "secret software."


Delivering the election - not just in Ohio

The nation's first parallel election was conceived by Ellen Brodsky, an election official in Coconut Creek, Florida. Held at a single precinct during a May 2005 special election on a gambling initiative, the Florida parallel election drew a 67 percent participation rate and revealed significant discrepancies, leading to revelations of programming issues with touch-screen voting machines.

San Diego's far broader parallel election was the brainchild of Judy Alter, an emeritus professor in the department of world arts and culture at UCLA who participated in the New Mexico recount after the 2004 presidential election. In Santa Fe, Alter detected a shift of third-party candidate votes into the Bush/Cheney column.

"That pattern has now been identified in eight states," Alter told Raw Story in an exclusive interview, adding that numerous other indications of electronic fraud have been found. "This is why I'm leading Study California Ballots, because we have to actually count," Added Alter.

CAPE filed a request with the Registrar on August 16 to recount the 11 precincts included in San Diego's parallel election. The request was filed by Schuchman on behalf of Donna Frye, although the Frye campaign was not consulted.

The San Diego Registrar has seven days to call a meeting of all candidates and other interested parties to devise procedures for the recount. "If any discrepancies are found, California law requires that a citywide recount of all precincts be conducted," Alter said.

Asked about CAPE's recount request, Registrar Mikel Haas, responded, "They have every right to do this. We're going to run this by the book." He declined, however, to state how much the partial recount would cost, although noting that cost would depend upon procedures agreed on in the upcoming meeting.

Alter is less confident that Haas will play it by the book, stating that "I believe he is overcharging us." She also believes CAPE should only be assessed $400 ($100 for each of the four election employees) per day. "Now he's going to charge us $2,500--and he's telling us that he's charging us for electricity and the room for the meeting he is going to call, and for all the expenses to staff it," Alter contends.

Citizen Arrested for enacting his rights

CAPE isn't the only group to accuse Haas of withholding public information. Jim March of Black Box Voting and a Republican maintains that the Registrar refused his request during the election to obtain audit logs, which would show whether records were kept of each user who accessed the Diebold GEMS central tabulator.

In an interview with the East County Californian before the election, Haas stated that he would allow citizens to observe the central tabulator counting votes. But on election night, March found the tabulator screen had been placed eight feet away, behind glass and readable only through binoculars, literally. According to March, an activist who was with him brought binoculars and was able to clearly make out the screen. March's request to have the screen moved closer was refused, so he entered the secured tabulating room.

March was arrested and charged with a felony count of obstructing an election official. The charge was later dropped. "This was a violation of my civil rights," said March, who plans to sue County election officials for violating his right under California law to observe an election and his right to access public records.

Computer experts hired by Black Box Voting to penetrate voting systems in Leon County, Florida (with permission of an election official) demonstrated the ease of reprogramming Diebold optical scan voting machines and changing votes through the Diebold central tabulator - the same voting systems used in San Diego during the recent election.

Informed of these facts, Haas nonetheless allowed hundreds of San Diego poll workers to keep voting machines at home overnight - including programmable memory cards protected only by seals that could easily be removed with pliers and resealed.

March and other observers contend that San Diego's central tabulator was hooked up to the Internet on election night. An Internet connection would violate Diebold's own procedures manual, which states: "The GEMS server should not be connected to any network that has an external Internet connection." State certification required that manual procedures be followed.

"If that manual isn't followed, it's an illegal installation," says March. "They ran a completely illegal election."

Caught with tabulater plugged in

Asked by this reporter if the central tabulator was hooked up to the Internet, Haas replied, "Yes. That's so we can get our results out to the Internet, so people can see. It's firewall protected."

But after being informed that hooking the tabulator up to the Internet would potentially render the election illegal, Haas backpedaled and said he may have been mistaken about the tabulator's Internet connection. "I'm not that technical," he noted, then suggested that perhaps the machine was transmitting results to a secondary unit.

Activists plan to monitor the recount, but the potential for problems remain. "We are very worried about tampering," Alter admitted. "That's why we want the count videotaped."

Those fears evoke comparisons to Clermont County, Ohio, where Raw Story reported that a recount of the 2004 presidential election revealed that stickers were placed over the Kerry/Edwards oval on opti-scan ballots. Those ballots were then fed into machines after the hand recount. Witnesses have stated that beneath the stickers, the Kerry/Edwards oval was selected.

Subtler forms of tampering might include substituting entire batches of ballots, described Alter, who plans to monitor the recount.

Soon, San Diego's Registrar hopes to eliminate the opti-scan system entirely and retrofit warehoused TSx touchscreen machines with paper trails--if the new Republican Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson, opts to recertify the TSx system previously decertified by Democratic Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.

McPherson is lobbying Republican Governor Schwarzenegger to veto SB 370, which would make paper trails the official votes of record. SB 370 has already passed the State Senate and is now about to pass the Assembly. Sources close to the McPherson confirm that he is still lobbying the governor to veto.

Alter, meanwhile, is organizing citizen volunteers to hold parallel elections statewide for the fall special election called by Governor Schwarzenegger.

"I'm not stopping," the election reform advocate concludes. "This is just a moving train."

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Mr. Prizzi as currently affiliated with an academic institution. Prizzi, an engineer and physicist, is not.



Another great piece sent by Ken from


"The president always knows"
Why won't anyone ask Bush when he first learned of Valerie Plame's identity? That's one question he doesn't need to wait for the special prosecutor to answer.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Judd Legum and Faiz Shakir

Aug. 17, 2005 | Ever since the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson in 2003, the media has focused on whether President Bush would fire any people in his administration who were involved. Recent coverage has focused on the role, and fate, of deputy chief of staff Karl Rove. On July 31, Knight Ridder reporter Ron Hutcheson -- in an article that typifies the frame the media has imposed on the story -- speculated that "the president soon could face a painful choice between protecting his trusted aide or forcing his resignation to limit political damage."

Last week, Associated Press reporter Pete Yost wrote a relatively aggressive article about potential conversations between Rove and Bush about Valerie Wilson. But Yost's piece considers only the possibility that Rove lied about his involvement in the leak to Bush after the fact. Yost writes, "Whether Rove shaded the truth with Bush two years ago is a potential political problem."

Yet, strangely, even the most probing report has refused to raise the possibility that George W. Bush had any advance knowledge of or direct involvement in the leak. It's an irresponsible choice, considering Bush has more experience as a political operative than as president of the United States.

Most prominent is Bush's role as a powerful force in his father's presidential campaigns. His principal duty was enforcing strict loyalty to George H.W. Bush from everyone involved. Conservative strategist Mary Matalin, who held senior positions in the 1988 and 1992 campaigns, described Bush as "his father's trusted consigliere." George W., for his part, embraced the role and made it clear that anyone who crossed his father could expect retribution. In 1990, he told writer Ann Grimes, "I was the enforcer when I thought things were going wrong. I had the ability to go and lay down some behavioral modification."

Bush had started his career as a political operative nearly two decades earlier, when he left the Texas Air National Guard to work on the Alabama Senate campaign of Winton Blount. (Even at the young age of 26, the younger Bush was reportedly one of Blount's top four advisors.)

As one might expect, much of Bush's work for his father's presidential campaigns was done behind the scenes. Yet it's clear he was steeped in political minutiae and imposed few limits on what he was willing to do to get the job done. In 1986, veteran reporter Al Hunt predicted that Jack Kemp would receive the 1988 Republican presidential nomination instead of George H.W. Bush. When George W. saw Hunt dining with his wife and 4-year-old son at a Mexican restaurant in Dallas, he went up to their table and said, "You fucking son of bitch. I won't forget what you said and you're going to pay a fucking price for it." Bush didn't apologize until 13 years later, when the incident resurfaced in the context of his own presidential campaign.

In 1987, the George H.W. Bush campaign gave unusually close access to Newsweek reporter Margaret Warner. That resulted in a cover story titled "Fighting the Wimp Factor," in which Warner discussed "the potentially crippling handicap" that the senior Bush wasn't tough enough for the job. George W. was incensed. He called the magazine and "told reporters that his father's campaign would no longer talk to Newsweek." According to White House reporter Thomas DeFrank, George W. told him that Newsweek was "out of business." In his anger, however, Bush "went somewhat beyond the authorized message." The following day, a Bush campaign spokesman announced, "We're not cutting them [Newsweek] or anybody else off from their efforts to cover the campaign." George W., apparently, has never gotten over the incident. In his memoir, "A Charge to Keep," published more than a decade later, he wrote, "My blood pressure still goes up when I remember the cover."

After his father was elected president in 1988, Bush was placed in charge of a group called the Silent Committee (aka the "scrub group"), which was made up of "about fifteen blood-oath Bushies," according to the Texas Monthly. The purpose of the group was "to 'scrub' potential appointees for their loyalty and past service to Bush." The Washington Post noted at the time that George W. had a "somewhat more developed sense of political loyalty than even his father."

Although Bush left Washington after the campaign concluded, his role as loyalty enforcer remained largely unchanged. In November 1991, for example, then White House chief of staff John Sununu told a reporter the president had "ad-libbed" an ill-advised line during a speech about credit card interest rates. The younger Bush was infuriated that Sununu didn't defend his father. George W. told another White House staffer, "We have a saying in our family: If a grenade is rolling by the Man, you dive on it first. The guy violated the cardinal rule."

George W. was dispatched to Washington to deal with the Sununu situation. He met with Sununu and told him he should resign. On Dec. 3, 1991, Sununu -- also facing criticism for his misuse of government vehicles -- stepped down. Asked about the confrontation, George W. would only say, "The conversations between me and Mr. Sununu are going to be private. I talked to him, and then he and Dad reached an agreement."

The effort to discredit Joseph Wilson by exposing his wife as an undercover CIA agent is, for George W. Bush, entangled with the politics of Bush-family loyalty. Wilson, a trusted emissary of the elder Bush, served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, from 1988 to 1991. During Desert Shield, Bush appointed Wilson to the post of acting ambassador. Wilson led negotiations that resulted in the release of several hundred American hostages, and as Wilson was quick to note, the president was pleased with his service. Bush sent Wilson a letter on Jan. 30, 1991, which read in part: "Dear Joe ... We appreciate your service to your country and your courageous leadership when you were in Baghdad ... Many thanks."

So how did the current President Bush react when he learned that Joe Wilson -- once a member of his father's administration -- was using what was learned on a CIA trip to undermine Bush's rationale for the second Iraq war?

It's a question the media has been unwilling to ask.

Reporters have asked President Bush if he believed the Justice Department could conduct an independent investigation of the Plame leak. They've asked him if he believed any of his staffers would be found guilty of a crime in the affair. They've asked him if he would fire anyone found to be involved. And they have repeatedly asked him about Rove's role.

In response to all of these questions, Bush has deferred giving complete answers until the conclusion of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's criminal investigation.

But the media refuses to ask two questions that President Bush could not delay answering until he "finds out the facts": Mr. President, prior to July 14, 2003 (the day Robert Novak's column appeared), were you aware that Valerie Wilson was a CIA agent? And did you discuss her role with any other member of your administration?

The media is so far sticking with the idea that President Bush was an innocent bystander. Fitzgerald doesn't seem to share its perspective. Bush was interviewed by the special prosecutor for more than an hour. Floyd Abrams, an attorney who represented Time magazine in the case, said, "It's hard to believe the special prosecutor would be burdening the president with an interview unless they had testimony to the effect that the president had information."

No one outside the White House knows for certain the extent of President Bush's involvement. But one thing is clear: The press's assumption of ignorance is misguided, especially in light of George W.'s long history as a political operative. Allan Lichtman, a noted presidential historian, says the "presumption in presidential politics" should be "that the president always knows." It's not too late for responsible reporters to ask the right questions.


A priceless gem sent from Ken this morning on GOP self-serving attacks on Clinton for US involvement with Kosovo. You will appreciate the irony...

Here is one of my favorites: (LS)

Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

This piece is bewitching - a bunch of self-serving quotes by GOPs attacking President Clinton's war in Kosovo - which ended quickly and most successfully. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I'm almost tempted to send it to my right-wing friends, just to see the knots they have to tie themselves into in order to excuse the overwhelming hypocrisy that it illuminates. -K

Here's what Republicans said about Clinton and Kosovo

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
-Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
-Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate George W. Bush

"President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it."
-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/5/99

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning...I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
-Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."
-Tony Snow, Fox News 3/24/99

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years"
-Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"I'm on the Senate Intelligence Committee, so you can trust me and believe me when I say we're running out of cruise missles. I can't tell you exactly how many we have left, for security reasons, but we're almost out of cruise missles."
-Senator Inhofe (R-OK )

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"I don't know that Milosevic will ever raise a white flag"
-Senator Don Nickles (R-OK)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"This is President Clinton's war, and when he falls flat on his face, that's his problem."
-Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)

"The two powers that have ICBMs that can reach the United States are Russia and China. Here we go in. We're taking on not just Milosevic. We can't just say, 'that little guy, we can whip him.' We have these two other powers that have missiles that can reach us, and we have zero defense thanks to this president."
-Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)

"You can support the troops but not the president"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"My job as majority leader is be supportive of our troops, try to have input as decisions are made and to look at those decisions after they're made ... not to march in lock step with everything the president decides to do."
-Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

For us to call this a victory and to commend the President of the United States as the Commander in Chief showing great leadership in Operation Allied Force is a farce"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Once the bombing commenced, I think then Milosevic unleashed his forces, and then that's when the slaughtering and the massive ethnic cleansing really started"
-Senator Don Nickles (R-OK)

"Clinton's bombing campaign has caused all of these problems to explode"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"America has no vital interest in whose flag flies over Kosovo's capital, and no right to attack and kill Serb soldiers fighting on their own soil to preserve the territorial integrity of their own country"
-Pat Buchanan (R)

"These international war criminals were led by Gen. Wesley Clark ..who clicked his shiny heels for the commander-in-grief, Bill Clinton."
-Michael Savage

"This has been an unmitigated disaster ... Ask the Chinese embassy. Ask all the people in Belgrade that we've killed. Ask the refugees that we've killed. Ask the people in nursing homes. Ask the people in hospitals."
-Representative Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"It is a remarkable spectacle to see the Clinton Administration and NATO taking over from the Soviet Union the role of sponsoring "wars of national liberation."
-Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID)

"America has no vital interest in whose flag flies over Kosovo's capital, and no right to attack and kill Serb soldiers fighting on their own soil to preserve the territorial integrity of their own country"
-Pat Buchanan (R )

"By the order to launch air strikes against Serbia, NATO and President Clinton have entered uncharted territory in mankind's history. Not even Hitler's grab of the Sudetenland in the 1930s, which eventually led to WW II, ranks as a comparable travesty. For, there are no American interests whatsoever that the NATO bombing will either help, or protect; only needless risks to which it exposes the American soldiers and assets, not to mention the victims on the ground in Serbia."
-Bob Djurdjevic, founder of Truth in Media


Wednesday, August 17, 2005


After serving two tours of duty in Iraq and managing to get home alive, this poor young man was told he was not a Texan by Austin Community College. It seems that he has been out of the state too long (serving his country, thank you very much) and therefore the college said he had to pay out-of-state tuition. Appalling, absolutely appalling.

Every living soul in Texas needs to write a letter on his behalf. LS

Austin Community College
Office of the President
5930 Middle Fiskville Road
Austin, TX 78752
(512) 223-7598 • (512) 223-7185 (Fax)

ACC President: Steve Kinslow, Ph.D.

Presidential Assistant:
Pam Sutton, (512) 223-7598, (512) 223-7185 (Fax)

Carl Basham, a former Marine who completed two tours of duty in Iraq, says officials at Austin Community College told him that he's been out of Texas too long to qualify for in-state tuition.

College tells veteran he is not a Texan

By Jay Root

Star-Telegram Austin Bureau http:


AUSTIN - Carl Basham was born in Beeville, registered to vote in Travis County in 1998, holds a Texas driver's license and does his banking in Austin.

So he was shocked when Austin Community College told him a few weeks ago that he didn't qualify as a Texas resident "for tuition purposes." Basham, a former Marine corporal, said he was even more shocked when officials told him why: After two tours of duty in Iraq, he's been out of the state too long to qualify.

"They told me that I have to physically live in the state of Texas for at least a year," Basham said in an interview Tuesday. "It kind of hurts." Austin Community College officials were unable to specify why Basham isn't considered a Texas resident, only that he didn't meet state requirements as determined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. A spokeswoman said privacy laws prevent a discussion of Basham's case.

An official at another college said the fact that he entered the military in another state nearly a decade ago, despite his deep Texas ties, might be the reason.

Either way, two state officials said bureaucratic technicalities should not prevent the decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom from being considered a Texas resident -- and paying about $500 a semester in tuition instead of around $2,600.

"Mr. Basham has gone to war for us, and I intend to go to war for him!" said state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, in a letter to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. "We owe it to our returning service men and women to make it as easy and uncomplicated as possible for them to resume their normal lives."

Likewise, state Rep. Suzanna Hupp, R-Lampasas, who represents many veterans serving at Fort Hood, said she wants to investigate the matter.

"I think we need to look into it further. It doesn't make sense that people who have bullets flying over their head aren't treated properly when they get back," she said.

The higher education board is investigating the case, an official there said.

Basham, 27, said he has to come up with about $3,000 now to pay for tuition and books as he works toward a degree in emergency medical care. Although he expects to get his college paid for eventually by the federal government, he said those GI benefits won't kick in for several more months, so he's stuck with high out-of-pocket expenses for now.

Basham's wife, Jolie, said an admissions officer at the college kept asking for documents proving his Texas residency. He brought in his driver's license, car registration papers, voter registration card, bank records and tax returns -- all sporting a Texas address.

"She said, 'It's really your military service that's holding you back.' I couldn't believe that those words came out of her mouth," Jolie Basham, a California native, recalled.

She said it stung her husband badly to be told he was not a Texan.

"He's always Texas this and Texas that," she said. "It's always been his home."

Jolie Basham remembered her husband's reaction when he got his car stolen last year while they were stationed in California at Camp Pendleton.

She said the Texas plates had been removed and mangled, but Cpl. Basham refused to replace them.

"He sat there and hammered 'em out and screwed them back on his car," she said. "He refused to get California plates."

Basham, the son of an air traffic controller who often was tranferred around Texas as he moved up the career ladder, lived most of his youth in Waco. During his junior year, he followed his parents to Monroe, La., where he graduated from high school.

It is there that he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Over two enlistments and eight years of service, Basham was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and other decorations. He served as a driver and an auto mechanic in two tours of duty in Iraq, each lasting seven months, he said.

Basham was honorably discharged from the Marines on Jan. 31. He said he got to Texas as fast as he could, but he had to stay in California until his wife, who had pregnancy complications, gave birth in May.
The Texas Legislature has generally gone out of its way to ensure military veterans pay the lowest possible tuition. But it's not a perfect system, and some veterans end up falling through the bureaucratic cracks. Donna Darovich, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County College District, said the big problem is that Basham entered the service in Louisiana, even though he only lived 1 1/2 years there.

"It basically doesn't matter if you've lived here all your life," she said. "Where you enlist is what kind of sets the stage for residency."

Ray Grasshoff, a spokesman for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, could not say how many returning service members face the problem Basham has encountered. But he said officials were looking into his case now. "Our staff is trying to talk to the ACC staff and trying to figure out what can be done if anything to resolve the issue," Grasshoff said. "We, of course, support veterans and all they do for the country and want to make sure they get all the benefits they're entitled to."


I am speechless....Cindy Sheehan said in her daily blog that when we run out of words we have to make up new ones. After reading this piece, I am too overwhelmed at this point to be creative.

Found on the International Post via Buzz Flash
Efforts by FBI whistle blower Sibel Edmonds and one other FBI agent to have the facts revealed in this article investigated largely fell on deaf and unwilling ears.

“If they were to allow the whole picture to emerge… certain elected officials will stand trial and go to prison.” – Sibel Edmonds

I've posted the entire article to put it out there, but if you click on the link below, you can view the articles and websites cited
in the piece that provide background and supporting information. LS


Hastert’s Turkish Allies Tied to Bin Laden
15 Aug 2005  07:48:00 GMT
By Lynn Grant
“If they were to allow the whole picture to emerge… certain elected officials will stand trial and go to prison.” – Sibel Edmonds
CHICAGO, Illinois, Aug 15 (IP) – During the current flurry of September 11th related news, one item has gone largely unnoticed.
Reports of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds’ allegations concerning improper financial ties between House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Turkish officials and businessman have been a source of discontent for beltway insiders on both sides of the aisle.
However, the recent coverage has not addressed why Sibel Edmonds’ information regarding Speaker Hastert’s dealings with the Turks necessitated an in-depth investigation by the September 11th Commission.
In an August 10, 2005 interview about her reported allegations, Edmonds was asked, “What are you alleging about the Speaker of the House?” Though under a strict gag order, she replied:
 “I have been giving all the details to the appropriate channels. And they have been confirmed. And what I have said all along is the fact that as far as the 9/11 is concerned, September 11 is concerned, these departments -- and when I say “these departments,” the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense -- have intentionally blocked the investigations of real -- the real criminals in this country. …
Most of al Qaeda’s funding is… through narcotics. And have you heard anything to this date, anything about these issues which we have had information since 1997? And as I would again emphasize, we are talking about countries. And they are blocking this information, and also the fact that certain officials in this country are engaged in treason against the United States and its interests and its national security, be it the Department of State or certain elected officials.
While alluding to treason, Edmonds’ reply indicates that her allegations about Speaker Hastert are linked to al-Qaeda and the September 11th attacks.
To understand this link, it is necessary to examine the substance of Mrs. Edmonds’ allegations, as reported in the recent issue of Vanity Fair:
A large part of her work at the F.B.I. involved listening to the wiretapped conversations of people who were the targets of counter-intelligence investigations. …
Many involved an F.B.I. target at the city’s large Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associates. Some of the calls reportedly contained what sounded like references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes. …
One name, however, apparently stood out – a man the Turkish callers often referred to by the nickname “Denny boy.” It was the Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert.
According to some of the wiretaps, the F.B.I.’s targets had arranged for tens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks. Under Federal Election Commission rules, donations of less than $200 are not required to be itemized in public filings.
The Vanity Fair article adds:
The targets reportedly discussed giving Hastert tens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information. …
“She told us she’d heard mention of exchanges of information, dead drops—that kind of thing,” a congressional source says. “It was mostly money in exchange for secrets.” …
There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder. …
“There was pressure within the bureau for a special prosecutor to be appointed and take the case on, “the [FBI] official says. Instead, his colleagues were told to alter the thrust of their investigation – away from elected politicians and toward appointed officials. “This is the reason why Ashcroft reacted to Sibel in such an extreme fashion [invoking the rarely used State Secrets Privilege],” he says “It was to keep this from coming out.”
Though a Hastert spokesperson has dismissed Edmonds’ allegations and no evidence is presented confirming Hastert received illegal payments, the article reports on another wiretap in which “a senior official at the Turkish Consulate is said to have claimed in one recording that the price for Hastert to withdraw the resolution [recognizing the Turkish slaughter of Armenians in the early 1900s as Genocide] would have been at least $500,000.”
The targets of the wiretaps translated by Edmonds were heavily concentrated near Hastert’s Chicago-area congressional district:
Vanity Fair reveals that the FBI’s investigation centered on Speaker Hastert’s Chicago-area district:
One counter-intelligence official familiar with Edmonds’s case has told Vanity Fair that the F.B.I. opened an investigation into covert activities by Turkish nationals in the late 1990’s. That inquiry found evidence, mainly via wiretaps, of attempts to corrupt senior American politicians in at least two major cities - Washington and Chicago. …
In December 2001, Joel Robertz, an F.B.I. special agent in Chicago, contacted Sibel and asked her to review some wiretaps. Some were several years old, others more recent; all had been generated by a counter-intelligence that had its start in 1997. “It began in D.C.,” says an F.B.I. counter-intelligence official who is familiar with the case file. But “it became apparent that Chicago was actually the center of what was going on.”
These disclosures about Edmonds’ targets help to clarify her past statements to the press.
For example, when asked in a January 2005 interview if she had any information that would tie the targets of her FBI wiretaps to the September 11th attacks or Osama bin Laden’s organization, Edmonds replied, “Through certain activities with money laundering, and narcotics and illegal weapons procurement. Yes.” (audio)
More specifically, Edmonds wrote in a July 2004 article that she has “firsthand knowledge of ongoing intelligence received and processed by the FBI since 1997, which contained specific information implicating certain high level government and elected officials in criminal activities directly and indirectly related to terrorist money laundering, narcotics, and illegal arms sales.”
Yet Edmonds may not be the only well-known FBI Whistleblower with connections to this 9/11-related investigation in Chicago.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, FBI Special Agent Robert Wright was given orders to investigate several Chicago-based businessmen with ties to Turkey – and Osama bin Laden.
Special Agent Wright shared details of his investigation with Brian Ross of ABC’s Primetime Live in 2002:
ROSS: Their story begins in the mid-1990s. With growing terrorism in the Middle East, the two agents were assigned to track a connection to Chicago, a suspected terrorist cell that would later lead them to an Osama Bin Laden connection.
WRIGHT: We had a cell in Chicago, right. And that was, that was the premise of how we got the investigation going.
ROSS: But Wright says he soon discovered that all the FBI Intelligence Division wanted him to do was to follow suspected terrorists around town and file reports, but make no arrests.
WRIGHT: The supervisor who was there from headquarters was right straight across from me and started yelling at me, “You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects.”
ROSS: You’re on the Terrorism Task Force and you were told you will not open criminal cases?
ROSS: In 1998, Al-Qaeda terrorists bombed two American Embassies in Africa, killing more than 200 people. The agents say some of the money for the attack led back to the people they had been tracking in Chicago, and to a powerful Saudi Arabian businessman, this man, Yassin Kadi, who had extensive business and financial ties in Chicago. Yet, even after the bombings, the agents say headquarters ordered no arrests.
WRIGHT: Two months after the embassies are hit in Africa, they want to shut down the criminal investigation. They wanted to kill it.
ROSS: The move outraged the Federal Prosecutor in Chicago, who says Agents Wright and Vincent were helping him build a strong criminal case against Kadi and others.
MARK FLESSNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: There were powers bigger than I was in the Justice Department and within the FBI that simply were not going to let it happen. And it didn’t happen.
Wright’s investigation appeared to have had little effect on Chicago businessman Yassin Kadi. The Boston Globe reported in 2002, “Qadi was so well respected that he escorted former president Jimmy Carter around a Saudi women’s college in 2000.”
Though a presidential escort, Kadi’s al-Qaeda ties are so widespread, agents working on his investigation once pondered whether he may have been Osama bin Laden. During a June 2003 conference at the National Press Club, Special Agent Wright declared:
On June 9, 1998… I became the only FBI agent before 9/11 to utilize the civil forfeiture laws of the United States to seize $1.4 million in international terrorism assets from a Middle Eastern terrorist group. The original source of these seized funds was Yassin Kadi, a Saudi businessman. During 1998, an assistant United States attorney and I discussed the possibility that Mr. Kadi might actually be Osama bin Laden, or at least a close associate of bin Laden’s. …
However, my repeated attempts requesting FBI’s international terrorism unit to investigate Kadi’s financing of international terrorism was ignored. …
Four years later, only three weeks after the September 11 attacks, Mr. Kadi was designated by the United States government as the financier of Osama bin Laden.
Kadi, now 48, acted as ‘the financier of Osama bin Laden’ not only in the Chicago-area, but in Turkey as well. Two months after 9/11, The Turkish Daily News published an article detailing Kadi’s investments entitled “Osama bin Laden’s ‘Cashier’ in Turkey”. The Turkish Daily added:
Kadi, who was living in Istanbul, fled from Turkey following the Sept.11 attack. Kadi is a partner in two Turkey-based companies, the Karavan DisTicaret, a foreign trade company, and Ella Film-Produksiyon, a movie company. He once owned a 90 percent stake in Karavan and 30 percent in Ella but more recently these stakes have changed due to capital expansion.
In March 2005, Turkish authorities concluded an investigation into Yassin Kadi’s suspected links with al-Qaeda. The Arab News described the probe’s findings:
Turkey’s chief public prosecutor has formally ruled that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Saudi businessman and philanthropist Yassin Abdullah Al-Qadi has had contact with or has assisted the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. …
The probe concluded that, far from being a member or supporter of Al-Qaeda, Al-Qadi was above board and his actions were at all times wholly legitimate.
Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, took no issue with his chief prosecutor’s questionable ruling. Though few familiar with Turkish politics would be surprised at Prime Minister Erdogan’s position.
In November of 2001, The Turkish Daily News published an article with the headline ‘Tayyip – bin Laden Relationship’ referring to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The article provided translation of a Turkish language report one of the country’s largest newspapers which stated, “A Cumhuriyet headline said, referring to Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “… Al Kadi’s business partner Faruk Sarac is a close friend of the Erdogan family.”
Though the Turkish Prime Minister is a close family friend of a business partner of bin Laden’s financier, this may be nothing more than a coincidence.
However, another report seems to cast doubt on the coincidence theory. The Turkish Daily News reported in October 2001:
Hurriyet said: “Cuneyd Zapsu is the partner in Turkey of Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi whose assets in the United States have been frozen because he has links with terrorism. Zapsu, one of the founders of the AKP, is Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s closest friend.”
Some Turks consider Zapsu to be their own version of Karl Rove. Earlier this year Prime Minister Erdogan sued a news contributor because of a political cartoon depicting Zapsu perched on Erdogan’s back. And in late 2004 The Economist reported:
Secular Turks… fear that Mr Erdogan might use his muscle to expand the role of religion in public life. The real worry should be that more power could encourage his authoritarian streak. Even today only a handful of his advisers, among them Cuneyd Zapsu, a wealthy businessman, and Omer Celik, his youthful speech-writer, dare to disagree openly with Mr Erdogan.
The terrorist tendencies are not confined solely to Erdogan’s closest friends and advisors. The Prime Minister himself has been involved in extremist behavior.
According to The Turkish Daily News, “A Cumhuriyet headline said, referring to the Istanbul Municipality during Erdogan’s time as mayor, “The headquarters of religious reactionaryism [sic].”
While Mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s, Erdogan was jailed for four months by Turkey’s secular military after reading an Islamic poem containing the phrase, “Mosques are our bayonets, the domes our helmets and the believers our soldiers.”
Erdogan imprisonment began in 1998, after a military coup forced his political party from power. Less than four years later, Erdogan’s party resumed power and the national hero soon became Turkey’s Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister’s life story reads like a movie script: a man of destiny and vision, who can overcome any obstacle his path. Erdogan is surrounded by leaders who have been by his side from early on in his political career, including his Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Parliamentary Speaker Bulent Arinc. An April 1998 report in The Turkish Daily News stated:
Cumhuriyet reported that the prison sentence Istanbul Mayor Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been given has come as a relief to the older generation. … Meanwhile, Abdullah Gul and Bulent Arinc are expected to come to the foreground as the younger generation’s potential candidates.
Another 1998 Turkish news article reported:
Commenting on the prison sentence given to Istanbul Mayor Erdogan, Gul said… “This incident will add strength to our cause -- to Erdogan’s own cause and to our party.” …
Arinc said that they had not expected Erdogan to receive a sentence of this kind… “We have joined our fates with our friend, Tayyip Erdogan.”
Erdogan, Gul and Arinc would soon become the three most powerful men in Turkey. Such power combined with the Erdogan administration’s various ties to Osama bin Laden should cause alarm among American officials engaged in the War on Terror.
Yet even post-September 11, 2001, the result has been the opposite. During a 2002 visit with the Prime Minister in Turkey, Dennis Hastert stated:
It was a very good meeting that we had with the new Prime Minister. … We are committed as our country, the United States, to work with Turkey, to carry on. We see Turkey as a very stable country, as a matter of fact the model for stability and moderation and democracy.
Despite the Turkish government’s refusal to grant coalition forces access to key military bases during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Speaker Hastert never wavered in his support of Turkey. According to Turkish Speaker Arinc, Hastert declared, “We respect your parliament’s decision. Our Congress does the same thing from time to time. It is nothing to be offended by.”
In late 2004 Hastert made another trip to Turkey, as The Washington Post reports:
Folks in Europe are still talking about that splendid, 10-day, pre-Christmas tour of Europe led by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to attend the 60th anniversary ceremonies of the Battle of the Bulge. The group stopped to… visit more troops at Incirlik air base in Turkey…
Support personnel... [were] amazed the plane got off the ground in Turkey -- what with all the fine rugs and pashminas -- not to mention some Turkish-made shotguns Hastert and Dingell bought.
With such a display of hospitality, it is not surprising that Speaker Hastert invited his Turkish friends for a visit in May 2005. The Anatolia News Agency reported on the trip:
Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc has indicated today that his visit to the US Congress will be the first ever one by a Turkish parliament Speaker…
Arinc will be in Washington DC upon an invitation from US House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert.
A Turkish government website added:
Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç visited Washington between May 24-27 as the guest of Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the US House of Representatives. Arınç also attended a reception hosted in his honor by Hastert. …
Arınç, who completed his meetings in Washington D.C. arrived in Chicago on May 27. …
Arınç, who got information from Turkish Consul General Naci Koru about the work of the Turkish Consulate General in Chicago on Saturday… met Turkish community in Chicago on May 29.
The previous passage would have seemed relatively innocuous, if not for the recent Vanity Fair article which included passages such as:
“It began in D.C.,” says an F.B.I. counter-intelligence official who is familiar with the case file. But “it became apparent that Chicago was actually the center of what was going on.” …
The FBI’s investigations into a senior official at the Turkish Consulate is said to have claimed in one recording that the price for Hastert to withdraw the resolution would have been at least $500,000. …
In all, says a source who was present, she [Edmonds] managed to listen to more than 40 of the Chicago recordings supplied by Robertz. Many involved an F.B.I. target at the city’s large Turkish Consulate… and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations.
It should come as little surprise that while in the U.S., Arinc visited the ATAA, according to the Anatolia News Agency:
Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, who is currently in the United States upon formal invitation of the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert, met representatives of the Jewish community and of the Assembly of the Turkish-American Associations (ATAA) on Wednesday.
Though even without the recent allegations by Sibel Edmonds, the following report from The Turkish Daily News regarding Prime Minister Erdogan’s 2004 trip stateside to meet President Bush may have raised an eyebrow:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan… first arrived at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. …
After the concert, Chicago Municipal Mayor Richard M. Daley held a dinner for Erdogan.
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